FSSAI, ASCI sign MoU against misleading F&B ads

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising
Published : June 29, 2016
The FSSAI will redirect complaints against such ads to the ASCI, which will be reviewed using the latter's codes and guidelines.

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), a statutory body established under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, and the Advertising Standards Council Of India (ASCI), a self-regulatory body that propagates responsible advertising, have come together against misleading advertisements in the food and beverage segment, with both bodies having signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the same.

According to the MoU, ASCI will monitor food and beverage advertisements across various media mix. It will also report to the FSSAI about its decisions taken with regard to ads that have been found to be in non-compliance with the ASCI's guidelines so that further action may be initiated as per the provisions of the FSSAI Act. Moreover, the FSSAI has issued a suo moto monitoring mandate to the ASCI for processing complaints against misleading food and beverage advertisements.



It is to be noted that the FSSAI receives complaints for misleading advertisements through the Grievances Against Misleading Advertisements (GAMA) portal, under the Department of Consumer Affairs, which is one of the two departments within the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution. The FSSAI claims to have received 21 cases against misleading ads in the food and beverage sector, of which six cases have been disposed off by the FSSAI while the rest are in different stages of scrutiny/disposal.

Commenting on the MoU, Pawan Agarwal, CEO, FSSAI, says, "The FSSAI has taken a serious view of misleading advertisements related to food and beverages, and in order to effectively handle the same, has entered into an MoU with the ASCI, following which there will be a paradigm shift towards handling such scenario and shall also bring transparency and accountability with the stakeholders' participation."

Benoy Roychowdhury

Benoy Roychowdhury, chairman, ASCI, adds, "We are delighted that the ASCI's self -regulatory process on advertising content is getting recognition from various government bodies and the partnership with the FSSAI will augment our efforts in curtailing misleading advertisements. Food and beverage products are consumed on a daily basis, impacting the health and well-being of millions of consumers. Reining in misleading advertisements for this important sector would be a key priority for the ASCI."

According to the MoU, FSSAI will re-direct complaints against misleading food and beverage advertisements to the ASCI, which will be reviewed by the latter as per its own code and guidelines. The review also entails violation of the FSSAI Act and regulations related to advertisements with false, misleading, or unsubstantiated claims.

The partnership is expected to streamline advertisements effectively through structured guidelines and appropriate action, says the company in a press release.

The Advertising Standards Council of India, which is a self-regulatory organisation for the advertising industry, was established in 1985.The role and function of the ASCI and its Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) is to deal with complaints received from consumers and Industry, against advertisements which are considered as false, misleading, indecent, illegal, leading to unsafe practices, or unfair to competition, and consequently in contravention of the ASCI Code for Self-Regulation in Advertising. Under its National Ad Monitoring Service (NAMS), the ASCI claims to monitor over 80 per cent of new print and all new TV ads released in the country every month, for contravention of Chapter I of the ASCI code.

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is a statutory body established under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, to lay down scientific standards for articles of food and regulating manufacturing, processing, distribution, sale, and import of food so as to ensure safe and wholesome food for human consumption.

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